The NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, will host its 107th national convention from July 16 to July 20 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The theme for this year is “Our Lives Matter, Our Votes Count.”

NAACP National Convention

The theme alludes to some of the more noticeable social issues that adversely affect Black Americans – police violence and diminished voting rights, the latter of which is particularly significant as the 2016 presidential election quickly approaches.

The 2008 NAACP National Convention was also held in Cincinnati and drew appearances from President Barack Obama and former presidential candidate John McCain.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said in statement, “We are proud to once again have the opportunity to provide the backdrop for the NAACP’s National Convention, especially during such an important election year filled with impassioned political debates that strike at the core of civil rights issues in our country.”

According to an NAACP website, the purpose of the annual convention is to “establish policies and programs of action for the ensuing year.” This year’s convention, which will be at the Duke Energy Center, will strongly emphasize voter registration, voter education, voter mobilization and the full restoration of the Voting Rights Act.   

“When the right of every citizen to vote is under threat in states across the nation, we must join together to respond and be heard,” said Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP’s National Board of Directors, in a statement.  “In towns and cities across this country, we are witnessing a new era of activism as a new generation rises to stand against police brutality and for the right to be heard in our democracy.  We must harness that desire to be heard and mobilize our members to protect the vote and to get out the vote.”

Additionally, the convention will feature numerous workshops, discussions, forums and informational sessions addressing various matters pertinent to civil rights concerns for Blacks.

This year’s convention will also feature several highpoints, including the Commerce and Industry Show, the NAACP “ACT-SO” (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) competition, a Continuing Legal Education Seminar and a Youth Night Concert.

Among the many well-known activists, community leaders and delegates expected to attend, some of the notable figures scheduled to speak include NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, comedian Sheryl Underwood and Chance the Rapper.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump declined an invitation to address the conference, citing a scheduling conflict with the Republican National Convention, which is being held in Cleveland at the same time, an NAACP official told CNN.